255) A Story of Coincidences

July 10, 2008

El Milagro: Here's an interesting story for you: last weekend one of the techs, whose name is withheld to protect the innocent, had the following experience. This tech's neighbor has a son who just got out of prison on parole and went out to celebrate on July 4th and never came back. The man was in prison for drugs (usage?, selling?... we don't know... we are just listening to the story). So, the tech continues that the next day their friend from a nearby community, who has been on the kidney transplant list for some years now and is on dialysis in that community, comes by to see them and is all excited because he has just heard that "they" have a kidney for him... the only little concern is it is a "high risk" kidney and he isn't sure he wants to take it. He has to decide in the next few hours and doesn't know what to do so came to visit with the tech to discuss his options.

"What is a 'high risk' kidney?" I inquire... "I thought all kidneys up for grabs are checked out and healthy" Well, according to the tech, they have to get these kidneys into people so fast that they rate them based on the person they came out of, but don't always have the time to wait for an autopsy, etc. And, around the same time the tech's friend is in wonderment about taking this 'high risk' kidney, the mom of the parolee comes by to say that he died and she gave up his kidney so part of her beloved son can go on in someone else's body. The tech reports that their friend decided not to take the 'high risk' kidney, and at that time the tech thought of me... knowing how desperate I am to get a kidney. The tech hoped I wouldn't just lunge at any kidney offered, and worried that I might take that kidney.

I questioned how they were even sure of the serendipity of this 'coincidental' story of one neighbor's son dying and giving a kidney and another friend getting that same kidney, which the tech is sure is the actual story, not their own hallucination of a number of possibly unrelated events that found their way into the tech's sphere of consciousness. So it must have sounded like I was criticizing the story cause my neighbor, the quietly watching African American lady whose daughter brings her to the center is snickering about the whole interchange and my questioning the amazing coincidences.

And besides, I share with the tech that I'm ready for a kidney but I don't know if I would consider myself to be 'desperate' for a kidney. I think, when I imagine how it'll play out, that I'll want to know a lot about the the kidney 'they' offer me... and off I go into my own hallucinations about how it'll be....

I listen to NPR and hear a story about how products packaging is shrinking and how the producers (like Kellogg's) aren't telling folks... a blog to check out for anyone interested in this shrinking store boxes thing is Consummerist.com where the guy keeps track of shrinking packaging for us.

I doze and then the story tech comes up about an hour before I'm done, and reports excitedly that they just heard that another patient at this facility took that 'high risk' kidney and they didn't imagine it would get a taker and now this person has the 'high risk' kidney and what're we gonna do... etc. etc. I lay back and take this all in and reply, "Well, don't tell them they got a bad kidney..." I continue that my take it that "things happen just the way they're supposed to... and there must be a reason for what happened that we don't understand, and we don't want to mess it up for that recipient by putting out negative thoughts about their fortune... so therefore, the best you can do is to send them your positive thoughts and wishes for success."

And there you have it. Another day, another Lifealysis. As Roseanne Rosanadana would say, "It's always something!"


Jeff said...

Ignorance is bliss, I guess. If the recipient is aware that the kidney is "high risk", and chooses to take it (AND if the surgeon agrees to "install" it), then so be it.

I recently took a kidney from an adolescent who overdosed, and had a history of drug problems. The kidney itself is "pristine" according to my surgeon, but there is always a chance she may have had an undiagnosed infectious disease. But, I took that chance, as NO kidney is absolutely perfect.

Jack Nowicki said...

Thanks for your comment Jeff. I too have a hard time thinking that the docs would be hesitant to 'install' a kidney that was too 'high risk', whatever that might mean.

My tech's story reminded me of the old black and white TV series, The Naked City, in which the narrator ends the show with, "There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them." For the uninitiated, the stories we hear while having our blood cleaned are fantastic and could make up the plots of a TV series.

BTW, I really got a lot out of reading your blog through your transplant. These blog-o-sphere reports (like yours) from actual people are really helpful to folks who are just beginning their journeys thru dialysis, etc. I hope your fans give you lots of support for sharing your experiences with the world Jeff.

Just today I was told by a physical therapist (who has been working on my hand) what a help my blog was to her 87 year old father who has recently started dialysis. Keep blogging! JN